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Kahl v. Albrecht

United States District Court, Seventh Circuit

October 16, 2013

RALPH V. KAHL, Plaintiff,


SUE E. MYERSCOUGH, District Judge.

This cause is before the Court on Defendants Don Albrecht and Russell Alexander's Motion for Summary Judgment (D/E 37) and on Defendant Vipin Shah's separate Motion for Summary Judgment (D/E 39). For the following reasons, Defendants' motions are GRANTED. Defendant Steven Carr is directed to either file a motion for summary judgment or inform the Court that he intends to proceed to trial within 14 days of this Order.



From October 2008 until February 2011, Plaintiff Ralph V. Kahl was a pre-trial detainee in the Macoupin County Jail in Carlinville, Illinois. During the relevant time, Defendant Vipin Shah, M.D., provided medical services to detainees at the Macoupin County Jail. On July 29, 2010, Dr. Shah saw Kahl regarding pain in his teeth and ordered Kahl to be seen by a dentist.

On July 12, 2010, officers from the Macoupin County Jail transported Kahl to Steven Carr, DDS's office to have a tooth extracted. When the officer and Kahl arrived at Dr. Carr's office, someone from Dr. Carr's office directed them to enter the building from the rear. As Kahl entered Dr. Carr's building, he fell down a flight of stairs when he leaned against an unlocked door. Kahl was then transported by ambulance to the Carlinville Area Hospital. After an evaluation, the medical staff determined that Kahl had a fractured neck and released him back to the Macoupin County Jail with a neck collar, a prescription for Motrin and Tylenol Extra Strength together every six hours, and a prescription for Tramadol as needed.

Sometime after he returned to the Jail, Russell Alexander (the Jail Administrator) informed Kahl that he could not use the neck collar unless he remained in segregation. Alexander explained that the neck brace could be used as or turned into a weapon, and therefore, it would be a security risk to have the collar in the Jail.

Dr. Shah next examined Kahl on July 27, 2010, for pain in his shoulder. Dr. Shah continued Kahl's prescription for Ibuprofen and Tylenol, but he did not renew Kahl's prescription for Tramadol.

Dr. Shah examined Kahl again on August 3, 2010, regarding pain in his shoulder. After the examination, Dr. Shah ordered an MRI be performed on Kahl. On August 27, 2010, Kahl received the MRI ordered by Dr. Shah. The MRI revealed moderate degenerative changes and a small disc herniation in his neck. The MRI also revealed mild osteoarthritis, anterior and lateral down sloping configuration and mild increase in the T2 signal and mild supraspinatus. Based upon the results of the MRI and his evaluation of Kahl, Dr. Shah determined that Kahl did not need further imaging, consultation, or increased prescription medication. Dr. Shah never told Kahl that he needed surgery. Sometime in August 2010, Dr. Carr extracted Kahl's tooth that precipitated his initial visit to Dr. Carr's office in the previous month.

On July 5, 2012, Kahl filed the above-captioned case under 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983 alleging that Sheriff Don Albrecht and Alexander violated his Eighth Amendment rights by refusing to allow him to wear his neck collar and by refusing to provide him with his prescription pain medication Tramadol. Kahl contends that Dr. Shah violated his Eighth Amendment right by refusing to re-fill or renew his prescription for Tramadol. Finally, Kahl alleges that Dr. Carr's negligence led to his fall and subsequent injuries. Sheriff Albrecht, Alexander, and Dr. Shah have now filed the instant motions for summary judgment.



Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(c) provides that summary judgment "shall be rendered forthwith if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." FED. R. CIV. P. 56(c); see Ruiz-Rivera v. Moyer, 70 F.3d 498, 500-01 (7th Cir. 1995). The moving party has the burden of providing proper documentary evidence to show the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323-24 (1986). Once the moving party has met its burden, the opposing party must come forward with specific evidence, not mere allegations or denials of the pleadings, which demonstrates that there is a genuine issue for trial. Gracia v. Volvo Europa Truck, N.V., 112 F.3d 291, 294 (7th Cir. 1997). "[A] party moving for summary judgment can prevail just by showing that the other party has no evidence on an issue on which that party has the burden of proof." Brazinski v. Amoco Petroleum Additives Co., 6 F.3d 1176, 1183 (7th Cir. 1993).

Accordingly, the non-movant cannot rest on the pleadings alone, but must designate specific facts in affidavits, depositions, answers to interrogatories or admissions that establish that there is a genuine triable issue; he "must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts.'" Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 261 (1986)(quoting Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986)); Hot Wax, Inc. v. Turtle Wax, Inc., 191 F.3d 813, 818 (7th Cir. 1999). Finally, a scintilla of evidence in support of the non-movant's position is not sufficient to ...

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